This is my review of the Sensodyne Rapid Relief toothpaste starting from the unboxing of the product to my experience brushing with it.
Yes, I am a dentist so of course I’ll also talk about how this sensodyne toothpaste desensitizes your teeth and how effective it is at doing so. You’ll get all of my subjective opinions as well as the objective facts.
The sensodyne rapid relief toothpaste was designed for those who suffer from chronic teeth sensitivity. The primary featured benefit for this product is that it can rapidly relieve your sensitivity with its unique formulation in as little as 3 days.
|Net weight||3.4 oz (96.4 g)|
|Dispensing mechanism||Squeezable tube|
|Cap design||Twist off cap|
|Remineralization agent||Stannous Fluoride|
With twice daily brushing, benefits include:
- Sensitive teeth relief in 3 days.
- Helps prevent and remove tooth stains.
- Freshens breath.
- Mint taste.
- Protects against cavities.
- Contains fluoride.
- Sensitivity relief and lasting sensitivity protection.
Directions are for adults and children 12 years and older.
- Apply at least a 1-inch strip of the product onto a soft bristle toothbrush.
- Brush teeth thoroughly for at least 1 minute twice a day (morning/night).
- Do not brush more than 3 times per day unless directed by a dentist.
- Make sure to brush all sensitive areas of the teeth.
- Minimize swallowing and spit out after brushing.
My comment: It always bewilders me that the recommendation on the label says to brush for at least 1 minute when the general consensus is 2 minutes!
There are a total of 11 ingredients in this toothpaste, 1 active and 10 inactive ones.
The only active ingredient in the rapid relief toothpaste is stannous fluoride 0.454%.
Yes, sensodyne did not list anti-gingivitis as one of the purposes but every other stannous fluoride toothpaste on the market has it. Perhaps they forgot?…
|Whitening Abrasive||Hydrated Silica|
Titanium Dioxide (white coloring)
|Anti-tartar & Anti-staining||Pentasodium triphosphate|
Cocamidopropyl Betaine (foaming/lathering)
The ingredient list is fairly minimal and I like how it doesn’t have any color dyes.
The sensodyne rapid relief toothpaste came in a standard rectangular cardboard box with a white, blue, and green color theme. Despite the abundance of wording on it, it still gives off a minimalistic feel at least to me.
The box was easy to open because the ends of it were not sealed with tape or glue. Inside you’ll find the tube of toothpaste with no additional contents.
The toothpaste comes in your typical plastic squeezable tube. The plastic does not feel out of the ordinary at all. Very normal and what I would’ve expected.
To open the toothpaste, you do have to twist off or unscrew the cap in a counter clockwise if you’re with the cap facing up. To close it, you twist it in a clockwise motion.
What I liked about the packaging is that Sensodyne was thoughtful enough to include a safety seal which you can see with the cap off. This acts as a tamper proof seal to let you know that the product has not been used before.
I suppose they redeemed themselves with this little gesture for not having a security seal on the box. Although interestingly enough, I have noticed that the sensodyne pronamel products all lack this safety seal on their tubes.
Nonetheless, one last feature that I do really like for this toothpaste is that it has a broad flat cap which permits the tube to stand upright. Yes, you can store the product in a vertical position which is much more organized than laying flat.
Overall, I do have a pretty good impression of this toothpaste thus far. There wasn’t anything to dislike about it. The twist off cap is just a minor personal preference and does not detract from the usability of the toothpaste.
The first thing that I immediately noticed with the sensodyne rapid relief toothpaste was its thick paste texture. This was very different from their sensodyne pronamel toothpastes which were much softer in comparison.
It did foam quite a bit while I was brushing but it had SLS in it so that wasn’t unexpected. Other than that, my teeth felt clean afterwards and I had no complaints about using it.
The color of the toothpaste is an opaque white, due to the titanium dioxide in its formulation. This ingredient is naturally white and it reflects a lot of light, thus giving its characteristically white color.
There are no color dyes in any of the sensodyne formulations so rest assured!
The rapid relief smells like mint and tastes like mint. It’s not mild nor is it potent, I would put it somewhere in the middle in terms of the flavor intensity.
This toothpaste has a thick texture and I could immediately feel it as soon as I brushed it onto my teeth. Compared to the sensodyne pronamel pastes which would melt into my teeth, this one took a few seconds for it to begin dispersing.
Although it does seem to hold up its shape very well because it doesn’t jiggle nor does it move if you shake the toothbrush. If I invert my brush, it still stays on the bristles which makes it very thixotropic
I would say that there is a moderate amount of foam while I was brushing with it. You can see from the picture below of how much foam there was from 2 minutes of brushing.
This toothpaste felt like it did what it was supposed to do. My teeth felt clean and I didn’t feel any sensitivity while I was using it. After all, it is a desensitizing toothpaste.
Pros & Cons
There is no such thing as a perfect oral care product because all of them will have advantages and disadvantages. If you can only see one of them, you’re probably not looking hard enough!
- Stannous fluoride is the premium version of fluoride.
- Prevents and remineralizes small cavities.
- Decreases tooth sensitivity.
- Only 11 ingredients.
- Can be stored upright.
- More costly than sodium fluoride toothpastes.
- May worsen canker sores.
- Screw cap for tube.
- Only comes in small 3.4 oz size.
- May cause staining if you don’t brush adequately.
SLS and canker sores
While there is no definitive consensus on whether sodium lauryl sulfate worsens canker sores, I would still be cautious about using it if I was prone to it.
- Some studies say that it increases the frequency and intensity of the sores thus abstaining from SLS toothpastes alleviated symptoms.
- Other studies claim that there is insufficient evidence to make such a claim.
Nonetheless, it doesn’t change the fact that SLS is a powerful soap, so potent that it was used as an engine degreaser during World War II.
What I’m trying to say is that it can be very drying on your mouth. Usually for a mouth ulcer, keeping it moisturized helps it heal quicker. If you dry it out with a potent surfactant such as SLS, it may delay the healing.
Therefore it is common sense for me to avoid it if I was prone to canker sores.
Potential teeth staining
Perhaps most people skip reading toothpaste labels because they assume they know everything about it but stannous fluoride toothpastes may potentially cause teeth staining.
I kid you not, look at the “Other information” section on the box label, it explicitly says that products containing stannous fluoride may produce surface staining.
However, it also states that proper oral hygiene should prevent it from occurring and if it does happen, the effects aren’t permanent. A visit to your dentist should remove it with a professional dental cleaning.
Can it rapidly relieve teeth sensitivity?
The reason that Sensodyne rapid relief alleges that it can rapidly relieve teeth sensitivity is due to having stannous fluoride and polyacrylic acid in its formulation.
How it rapidly desensitizes:
- Stannous fluoride is a desensitizing agent which can occlude open dentinal tubules, which prevents stimuli from affecting the tooth nerve.
- Polyacrylic acid is a bioadhesive which helps the stannous fluoride stick to the teeth which increases its contact and working time.
The key ingredient to rapid desensitization is the inclusion of polyacrylic acid. That is the differentiating factor which separates the sensodyne rapid relief from other stannous fluoride based toothpastes.
How stannous fluoride desensitizes teeth
The primary desensitizer with the bulk of the desensitizing effect from the rapid relief toothpaste is due to stannous fluoride in its ingredients. Yes, it’s also an anti-cavity agent but this type of fluoride has an additional benefit of reducing sensitivity.
How stannous fluoride (SnF2) blocks sensitivity:
- Stannous fluoride occludes exposed dentinal tubules by forming a deposit consisting of tin, zinc, phosphate, and silicon that blocks the orifice.
- The now blocked tubules can no longer be stimulated by external stimuli.
The image above shows how when dentinal tubules become unclogged, the teeth can become sensitive. The principle behind SnF2 is by reclogging the tubules.
Polyacrylic acid is the differentiating factor
All stannous fluoride based toothpastes will desensitize teeth by clogging the open dentinal tubules. However, what makes the rapid relief capable of quickly alleviating sensitivity is due to the polyacrylic acid in its formula.
The polyacrylic acid is a bioadhesive which helps the stannous fluoride stick to the sensitive areas of teeth thus prolonging its working time.
Reasons bioadhesives make desensitizers more effective:
- Desensitizers work topically, only exerting its effect when its in contact with the tooth surface.
- After 2 minutes of brushing and you rinse out, there is very little residual desensitizers still on the teeth.
- Using a bioadhesive will help the desensitizers stick to the teeth so they can exert their effects for a longer period of time.
- The end result is an enhancement of desensitization.
The best analogy that I can give is how the hot and cold patches work. The longer they stay in contact with your skin, the better the pain alleviation. The same can be applied to tooth desensitizers.
Hopefully that makes sense to you.
In my opinion, the sensodyne rapid relief is a good sensitive toothpaste and yes I would say that it can in fact rapidly relieve sensitivity.
That is when I compare it to other stannous fluoride based sensitive toothpastes. These other dentifrices often do not contain a bioadhesive like polyacrylic acid which enhances the desensitizing effect.
Overall, I would have to say that the rapid relief is one of the more effective sensitive toothpastes on the market. Just in case you wanted a video recap of everything that I’ve said, I do have a video for you.
If you’re having teeth sensitivity and you’re considering this toothpaste, you should give it a try to see if it helps.